"This is the freedom on which all other freedoms depend."
Many issues are covered in the contributions that were nominated for this competition, from children forced to leave their home to people who lose their freedom and adolescents who cede theirs voluntarily; from mothers who fight for their daughters and others who sacrifice theirs to a dubious marriage. In other words, there is one overriding topic: how we wish to live together, what rules we give ourselves, how we understand each other and make ourselves understood.
They are impressive contributions, all worthy of a prize, and I congratulate the prize winners very warmly.
The understanding between ethnicities, cultures and faith communities is one of the fundamental tasks of public television and radio broadcasters. Here they find a protected space, a thoroughly civil forum. The prizes that are being awarded this year for the thirtieth time by the CIVIS Media Foundation also stand for this free space.
This possibility of free exchange is the first and most important prerequisite for democracy. It can unfold only where there are places of togetherness and understanding.
Keeping this space open, not narrowing or even closing it: That is what I wish to advocate as patron of this competition, but also wherever the freedom of expression and reporting is threatened. This is the freedom on which all other freedoms depend.
Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier
German Federal President